Longtime fishing partners found dead near empty boat in SC lake, officials say

Two longtime pals and fishing companions who had been additionally beloved sports activities coaches had been discovered lifeless floating close to a ship on a South Carolina lake, in accordance with pals and officers.

Jerry Stoots, 75, and Lee Watkins, 68, had been discovered on Lake Moultrie in Pinopolis simply earlier than 2 p.m. on Jan. 24, in accordance with the Berkeley County Coroner’s Workplace.

An individual who lives close by reported seeing one physique floating within the lake, and rescuers discovered the second physique in the identical space, a information launch from the coroner’s workplace says.

The fishermen had been possible within the water for a “quick time frame,” the discharge says. An post-mortem has been scheduled for Jan. 26.

Stoots was the “winningest highschool baseball coach in South Carolina historical past” and was inducted into the state’s Athletic Coaches Affiliation Corridor of Fame, in accordance with the Put up and Courier. He had greater than 925 profession wins at three South Carolina colleges over 48 seasons, the outlet reported.

He additionally coached soccer and labored for a number of seasons as the pinnacle soccer coach at R.B. Stall Excessive Faculty in North Charleston, the outlet reported.

After leaving Stall Excessive Faculty, he went on to start out a soccer program at Northwood Academy in Summerville, Ryan Leaver, the academy’s assistant principal instructed McClatchy Information. Watkins additionally labored at Stall Excessive Faculty and Northwood Academy as a soccer coach with Stoots, Leaver stated.

“Their bond and friendship was admirable,” Leaver stated of the 2 coaches.

Leaver stated Stoots was usually a quiet particular person, however he commanded plenty of respect amongst his gamers and fellow coaches.

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“When he talked, you simply needed to pay attention,” Leaver stated.

Stoots was “from a distinct era” and carried a pocket book with him to maintain observe of performs, Leaver stated. He loved getting along with pals at fish fries and speaking about life and household.

Watkins was “most likely one of the real individuals I’ve ever recognized,” Leaver stated. He would usually name Leaver simply to examine in on him and his spouse and children.

Kenny Wilkinson, a 1976 graduate of Stall Excessive Faculty who performed each soccer and baseball below Stoots, instructed the Put up and Courier that he was a “nice coach however an excellent higher man.”

“Lots of people don’t notice the impression he had on so many younger guys who later obtained into teaching, serving to him coach,” Wilkinson instructed the outlet. “He was all the time giving guys alternatives and he took care of his gamers all by way of life.”

Lake Moultrie is 60,400 acres and the third-largest lake in South Carolina. It’s about 40 miles north of Charleston.

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